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Apr. 3 – The Week In Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, researchers uncover a new source of cross-channel bank fraud, and Forbes offers tips for avoiding the IRS phone scam.

On Thursday, Reuters broke the news of a new cross-channel fraud scheme researchers have dubbed “The Dyre Wolf.” In this scheme, fraudsters send a targeted phishing email containing the Dyre malware. If installed, the malware waits until it recognizes that the user is navigating to a bank website and instantly creates a fake screen telling the user that the bank’s site is having problems and to call a certain number. If users call that number, they speak to an operator who elicits the users’ banking details.

On Tuesday, Forbes released an article containing tips meant to educate taxpayers on current IRS phone scams. Forbes quoted the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA), who called the IRS scams this year “the largest scam of its kind we have ever seen.”


Complete Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

Eyewitness News 3: Swatting’ calls affect Norwich elementary school – Police are investigating after the Stanton Elementary School in Norwich has been the victim of “swatting” three times in just one week.Fake phone calls are made to police, which prompts a large police presence to respond.

WMDT 47: $2 million phone scam under investigation in Salisbury – Salisbury Police say they were contacted by a local business on Milford Street for reports of telephone fraud. Officers reportedly found that the company’s multiple telephone lines had fraudulent overseas telephone calls made, totaling approximately $2,000,000.

Hartford Courant: Bill Would Establish Do Not Call Registry For Political Robocalls – The legislature’s judiciary committee approved a bill that would create a do-not-call registry for “abusive and oppressive” automated political telephone calls. House Bill 7035 would also require candidates that sponsor such calls to identify themselves.

Fox 6 Now: Intimidating the elderly: Medical alert device at center of telemarketing scam – It’s a scam with thousands of victims. At the heart of it — a medical alert device. The con artists used intimidation as a tool to get what they wanted. Elderly customers felt intimidated into buying a device called, “The Instant Response System.”

Telegraph: $4500 Stolen From Two Accounts – Last year fraudsters stole £24m through phone scams, up from just £7m the previous year. Unfortunately for the victims, they often find that their names are shared with other criminals on so-called “sucker lists”, making them even more vulnerable to further scams.

Kotaku: New Jersey Game Store Swatting Takes An Uglier Turn – The idea that a person making a false report to the authorities in order to illicit an armed response would then attempt to further confuse the situation by posing as a member of said authorities in order to escalate an already tense situation is chilling.

The Next Web: Are your users who they say they are? How do you know? – The importance of phone number verification shouldn’t be understated. This method can help prevent spam attacks by bots, fraud and account takeovers, and identify unreachable users due to stale or incorrect information.

International Business Times: The Inside Story of How Pakistan Took Down the FBI’s Most-Wanted Cybercriminal – The irony that Uddin would ultimately be found because of a hacked phone number was not lost on Jabbar. According to the FBI, Uddin is the mastermind behind a massive phone hacking crime ring that netted him a massive fortune.

Palm Beach Post: Florida man who used “spoofing” to con homeowners gets 11 years – A Florida man who used a phone technique called “spoofing” and pretended to be a federal official to convince homeowners to send their mortgage payments to him was sentenced to 11 years in prison Friday. Jonathan L. Herbert scammed an estimated $750,000.

Banking Exchange: Can you know me now? – It’s no longer odd to talk with one’s phone, rather than talk into it. Apple’s Siri has been around for years nows. So perhaps it’s about time for banks to get on board with voice biometrics as an authentication layer.

Winston-Salem Journal: Be careful about what you say to phone scammers – “Just by answering the telephone, you have already given the criminal confirmation of your number, your general location (given away by the area code), your sex, your approximate age, and the fact that you are at home during the day/evening.”

The Toronto Star: Duct cleaning firms fined for unwanted calls – I used to think the CRTC’s hands were tied when trying to stop unwanted telemarketing pitches originating from foreign call centres. I’m starting to change my mind. “Just because you’re outside Canada, you’re not exempt from the rules,” Lowry says.

LA Times: Beverley Hills police alert residents to earthquake phone scam – Beverly Hills police are warning residents to be on guard against a phone scam in which the caller identifies himself as a city official and asks to inspect their property for earthquake damage. There has not been any significant earthquakes recently, the department said.

Forbes: Taxes From A to Z (2015): S is for Scams – The telephone scam continues to make the rounds prompting the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) to call it “the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen.” As of late last year, the agency has received more than 250,000 reports. The ‘Free’ Federal Grant Scam is Back – The BBB has posted a warning to consumers about a free-grant scam that could cost victims the contents of their entire bank accounts. It starts with a message saying the government is offering free grant money, and your application is guaranteed to be accepted.

Bank Info Security: FFIEC: New Threats to Banks? – The volume of attacks against financial institutions has noticeably risen in the past year, Litan says. “It’s not getting any better. In fact, the situation is getting much worse, and only the most diligent and security-aware FIs will come out of this period unscathed.”

NBC News: These ‘Imposter’ Scams Are No April Fools’ Joke – For some criminals, every day is April Fools’ Day. Their cons are based on pretending to be someone else. They’re able to convince people that they really are an IRS agent, police officer, legitimate debt collector or member of the Microsoft tech team.

Kansas City Star: The IRS isn’t joking… don’t be fooled by phone scams – The IRS warns taxpayers not to be fooled by the tricks scammers use to take advantage of those they target. Scammers use fake names, provide bogus IRS badge numbers and alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Aspire Federal Credit Union: What You Need to Know About the Latest Tax Scams – Every year, many taxpayers are exposed to numerous scams related to the tax season. This season appears to be particularly bad. David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Security, says that his company is seeing about 9,000 calls per day related to IRS scams.

Reuters: IBM uncovers new, sophisticated bank transfer cyber scam – The use of a live phone operator is what makes the scheme unique, said Caleb Barlow, vice president of IBM Security. “What’s very different in this case, is we saw a pivot of the attackers to use a set of social engineering techniques that I think are unprecedented”

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